Search Engine Optimization: Know Before You Go

Many companies decide on a whim to jump on the SEO bandwagon without really understanding the ramifications. While SEO is becoming more and more vital to a successful business model, there are many things that need to be considered before moving forward. Below are a few points to get the juices flowing.

Marketing objectives

Seems like a simple thing, but you need to know how SEO will fit into the overall marketing objectives of your company. What will it accomplish? What do you want it to accomplish? Don’t just do SEO because everyone else is doing it. Do it for a specific reason.

Timing is everything

Don’t rush into an SEO campaign because you are feeling pressure to get results. Here are some timing considerations to think about before you move forward:

Seasonality. Does your industry have a high and low season? If so, then you probably want to start your SEO in the low season. This way, you are in prime positions during your high season to capture key traffic.

Website redesign. A new site launch is a big deal, and yes, it DEFINITELY affects SEO. If you want to start an SEO campaign, but you know in your gut (and have known for a while) that your website desperately needs an update, take care of the site FIRST. New site launches during an SEO campaign are a huge hindrance and can delay results significantly.

SEO is not a quick fix

Search engine optimization is a long term marketing strategy. No, let me rephrase, EFFECTIVE SEO is a long term strategy. If you are looking to jump into an SEO campaign in October because you need to finish out Q4 well, you’re a day late and dollar short. There are no “special contacts at Google,” no magic buttons, and no amount of guarantees that can change this. Depending on your situation, SEO can take anywhere from 6-18 months to see top results.

Access to a Web developer

Chances are that if you have a website, you have a developer you work with that manages that website. SEO campaigns require many time sensitive website adjustments. Having a reliable and available Web developer that can implement recommendations made by your SEO firm is vital to success. Make sure you have a developer and he or she is ready and willing to make changes before embarking on your SEO campaign.

Content generation capabilities

It is no secret that content is king. Relevant content on your site is a huge aspect of SEO. Be aware that some sites require more website content then others, depending on your current layout. Assure that you have content creation capabilities, and if not talk about your limitations with your potential agency upfront.

“I only need you for…”

SEO companies can be partners in your marketing efforts. They have the ability to provide expertise in Internet marketing, not just SEO, that can benefit your overall marketing vision. Let them do what they do best. Don’t tie the hands of your SEO company because you only want link building from them. Mostly likely their approach is more holistic, and not allowing them to utilize all the aspects of SEO will underhand their efforts and sabotage success. Listen to the expertise of you SEO firm. Allow them to perform their work, because after all, you hired them for a reason.

The full Monty

Full exposure. Complete transparency. SEO companies cannot be your partner if you treat them like a vendor. Be open, honest and transparent with your goals and the current state of your business. Explain your business model, your industry, past experiences with search marketing, and most importantly what it is you are trying to accomplish with your website. Give your SEO company the data to prove their value to you, in dollars.

If your SEO company only sees a small piece of the pie, they will do their work based on that information. This can cause frustration and a communication breakdown as bits and pieces of information can be taken out of context and misconstrued. Prevent this through open and honest communication. If you don’t feel comfortable exposing yourself just yet, you may want to hold off on an SEO campaign until you can.

ROI

Everyone knows that it’s about the bottom line, so what return are you getting on this investment? Do you know? Can you know? Have you put the appropriate metrics in place that will tell you? Ask these vital questions first. If you don’t know the answer, don’t hesitate to consult a trusted SEO company to find out.

When you do hire a SEO company, make sure you communicate the importance of evaluating ROI, if they don’t already, and your willingness to cooperate in that effort.

It takes two to Tango

If you haven’t noticed already, an underlying theme throughout this post has been cooperation and partnership. To execute and effective and successful SEO campaign you have to be involved. SEO is an active marketing effort, requiring constant communication and adjustment. The best SEO firms will always be in communication, and wanting to work together as an active partner. If you lack the time to attend such an effort, find someone who can.

Try to eliminate red tape as much as possible so things can get done. Again, SEO can be time sensitive. The quicker recommendations are implemented, the quicker you see results. It’s that simple.

Hopefully now, you will be better prepared to ask the right questions before beginning your SEO campaign.

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24 Comments

    • Suzanne says

      Ray,

      Thank you, and you bring up another point. Partnerships can be like dating, you need to find a company that is a good fit for you, your needs, and your company. Many SEO companies are great and perform good work, but may not be the best fit for you.

  1. Jeff Yablon says

    Nice piece. I especially liked your point about SEO not being a one-off activity; too many people miss that one!

    Jeff Yablon
    President & CEO

    • Suzanne says

      Exactly. A lot of frustration can be avoided if companies and their SEO’s mutually understood this point.

  2. Guy Siverson says

    If companies really understood exactly how long-term of a proposition search engine optimization really is everyone would rest just a little better. While I’ve been able to provide great results in my own search engine optimization campaigns in the short term I am extremely aware that the long-term strategies are what really matter.

    What techniques have you found to be most effective in your own search engine optimization projects?

    • Suzanne says

      Recently, proper site optimization has had HUGE effects. I have personally seen it with two projects. Sometimes I think correct and effective site optimization gets overlooked.

  3. kumar ramabhadran says

    It all boils down to content. All others are secondary

    Say if same techniques is used to Optimize for the search engine, then what content really decides the ranking

    Also the content really helps a visitor stay with you for long

    • Suzanne says

      Kumar, I think you bring up a good point about SEO tactics being user-friendly. We can’t drive actual visitors away for the sake of ranking, its backwards thinking. I think all CRO guys would agree :)

  4. Nick Stamoulis says

    You have really hit the nail on the head with all of these! On both ends, the SEO and Client side, there needs to be understanding, I run into many clients who don’t have an understanding of SEO and how it works, expecting instant results, only to be disappointed a month in when they don’t see much difference. I especially like how you mention it takes two to tango, and that timely execution of SEO recs is important.

    • Suzanne says

      Nick, its important to educate your clients right off the bat. Take every opportunity to teach them the norms of the industry, and what to expect. You set those expectations up front and you shouldn’t have a problem (there are always exceptions however!).

  5. Melissa Fach says

    I love ” Don’t tie the hands of your SEO company…”. I agree completely.

    I also agree the cooperation is crucial. Iit is needed on both sides which is obviously why you used the word partnership. Great post!

  6. Andy @ FirstFound says

    Brilliant post, especially on the timing issue. Every year, around December 14th, we get people calling about campaigns for Christmas.

    Those people end up paying for AdWords campaigns.

    • Suzanne says

      Andy, So true. Its unfortunate, however, how many people consider PPC and organic SEO two separate and unrelated SEM strategies. They are not. When utilized in conjunction with each other, the results can be significantly better than just one campaign on its own.

  7. Meghan Matsukane says

    This is a great blog post, Suzanne. I found your points on ROI and web developer extra relevant for my case. I’ve recently released my site about internet marketing and would like to start altering content for search engine optimization. Please feel free to have a look at my search engine optimization site at getfoundbygoogle dot com

    Thanks!

  8. Amz Hofilena says

    Nice tips! SEO is very important for an online business but it’s not about going for it all the time. Sometimes you need to observe how your strategies are working out for you before delving into another method.

    • Suzanne says

      Very true. There may be a process to how you tackle your SEM efforts. Everything all at once may not be right strategy. Somethings need to build on each other.

  9. Suzanne says

    No problem. :)

    Yes, red tape can be tricky. Recently, I have worked with someone who made a very concerted effort to get site recommendations done (in a corporate environment) and it made a HUGE impact on their campaign. These things just have to get done.

  10. William says

    This is great advice Susanne. As you point out SEO is time a long-term strategy 6-18 months. It is about being ethical and taking a long-term approach. While it might be nice to be number 1 on the search result next week, it is unlikely that you will obtain that status in any ethical manner. And if you obtain it unethically, you will probably be banned from the search engines with in a year. If you have a long-term business plan it is best to be a little patient and do things properly as Susanne suggests.

  11. Matt Adams says

    Really great advice. The only major thing I’d add to this is that PPC is a breeding ground for successful search marketing strategies.

    A comparatively small PPC budget can unlock the realities and potential of your SEO more efficiently than the theoretical examination of a market.

  12. Prince Zermic says

    SEO is important for the well-being of a site to flourish and grow on the Internet. If you think that creating a site and infusing in all the modern designs are enough to attract attention, then you are wrong. There has to be certain optimization strategies that need to work in synthesis for the site to come into notice.

  13. John Lucifer says

    I think this is an effective information about all the process of Seo features. Now days there are so many companies give them good and quality work for the clients. But mainly the location is very important to get a good project. Thanks for all these points useful for everyone.

  14. rajul jain says

    thanks for this good information about SEO it will help me, and now days INTERNET marketing is on the first position and used bye every person.
    Thanks.

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